Hello, my name is Sister Miller,

and I’m Sister Bennet.

We’re missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

and we are happy to welcome you to historic Kirtland, Ohio, USA.

This was a place of gathering for early Latter-day Saints. Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord commanded the Saints to come here in early 1831. He promised that in Ohio he would give them His law,

endow them with power from on high,

and send them forth among all nations to share His

restored gospel.

About a year and a half after the Lord commanded the Saints to gather here,

they began to understand the principal reason for that command. The Lord wanted them to build a temple where He could manifest Himself to them.

They were eager to build a temple, but they didn’t know how,

and they didn't know how they would get all the money and the materials they would need to do it.

So Joseph Smith called a meeting in the summer of 1832 to discuss building the temple.

Several men suggested that the temple should be a log house,

something they could afford.

Joseph Smith rose and reminded them that they were not building a house for themselves or any other person

but a house for God. He said:

“Shall we, brethren, build a house for our God of logs? No, brethren, I have a better plan than that.

I have the plan of the House of the Lord given by Himself.

You will see by this the difference between our calculations and His ideas.”

In the next few years, the Saints would build the Kirtland Temple.

According to a vision the Lord had given Joseph and his two counselors in the First Presidency,

they would make the walls of stone and plaster,

but they would also need to cut a lot of lumber for the interior framing.

And they would need tools for the decorative moldings and the doors, windows, and the roof And so before they could build a temple,

they would need to build a sawmill. And they did,

led by my fourth great-grandfather,

a man named Joe Hills Johnson.

Joe and his wife, Anna, were living in a neighboring town when the Saints came to Kirtland.

They heard the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and they were converted. They were baptized and joined the Church.

Joe was one of the few Latter-day Saints in Ohio with experience in building a sawmill.

So Joseph Smith asked him to design the mill.

Joe and his brother David donated their time and talents into overseeing this project.

Bishop Newell K. Whitney donated a piece of land.

Today, we are excited to show you a replica sawmill, built in 2003 in the location of the original mill.

Joe Johnson and his crew worked for six months to complete the work on the mill.

Each day, they prayed together, and then went to work.

They installed a huge saw to cut logs into lumber.

Let's go check out the woodworking shop.

They created a woodworking shop with tools like planes and lathes that could transform lumber into pulpits, window sashes, decorative moldings, and stair rails.

Beginning in 1834, this mill supplied

the Church with finishing lumber for the temple.

It also supplied boards for homes and other buildings.

And how do they power these tools? They

uilt a water wheel that harnessed the force of Stony Brook.

In early 1836, the temple is ready.

The entire Community of Latter-day Saints had worked together to build it, according to the vision the Lord gave their prophet. Eliza R. Snow,

a new member of the Church in the area, described this effort.

She said: “With very little except brain bone and sinew, combined with unwavering trust in God, men, women, and even children worked with their might.

Their energies were stimulated by the prospect of participating in the blessings of a house built by the direction of the Most High and accepted by Him.

On March27, 1836, Latter-day Saints sat shoulder to shoulder in the Kirtland Temple,

excited to join a special meeting. there. Their prophet, Joseph Smith, offered a prayer to dedicate the building to the Lord as a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order,

a house of God.

Eliza R. Snow recorded her memories of that day.

She said: “No mortal language can describe the heavenly manifestations of that memorable day.

Angels appeared to some, while a sense of divine presence was realized by all present. And each heart was filled with joy, inexpressible and full of glory.”

A week after the dedication on Easter Sunday,

Latter-day Saints met in the temple to partake of the sacrament. After administering the sacrament,

Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdrey prayed privately away from the sight of the congregation.

At one of the pulpits that have been created in the sawmill,

Joseph told of their experience. He said: “The veil was taken from our minds, and the eyes of our understanding were opened.

We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit before us; and

under his feet was a paved work of pure gold, in color like amber.

His eyes were as the flame of fire;

the hair of his head was white like the pure snow;

his countenance shown above the brightness of the sun;

and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters,

even the voice of Jehovah saying: I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who is slain;

I am your advocate with the Father.

Behold, your sins are forgiven. you; you are clean before me;

therefore, lift up your heads and rejoice.

Let the hearts of your brethren rejoice, and let the hearts of all my people rejoice, who have, with their might,

built this house to my name. For behold,

I have accepted this house, and my name shall be here; and I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house.”

After the Savior appeared to Joseph and Oliver,

three others came. Moses appeared and committed to them the keys of the gathering of Israel.

Elias appeared and reestablished the Abrahamic covenant.

Elijah committed the keys of the sealing powers to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children's to the fathers.

I’m grateful for faithful Latter- day Saints who built a sawmill so that they could build a temple.

And I’m grateful for the unfolding Restoration of truth and power that occurred in that temple.

To me, this is a holy place. Thank you for joining us.

Building a Sawmill to Build a Temple

Missionaries take you to a replica of a sawmill that early Saints built in order to construct the Kirtland Temple. They also tell of Christ’s appearance in that temple and the restoration of priesthood keys there (see Doctrine and Covenants 110).

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